Garden And Gardener

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Soil question – my soil is still quite lumpy

by Diane - April 20th, 2014.
Filed under: allotment.

lumpy soil
My soil is still quite lumpy, should I break it down further so it’s all really fine and small?
Is it ok to have lumpy soil?

A seed needs to be covered. If there’s enough soil to cover it then it’s fine.

You could spend hours and house creating the finest soil across the whole bed but as you only sow in a bit of it I wouldn’t waste your effort.
Draw a line for seeds and make sure you can cover them with a thin layer of fine soil.

If you’re sowing your seeds in pots then there’s even less need for fine soil! Just make sure you plant the plant in properly and water it well to get it started.

Ideally you don’t want to see the soil at all. Cover it with a mulch of some sort and then the worms will do the work for you.

In the recent program about soil they looked at an asparagus farmer who had serious erosion problems because of the bare soil around the plants needed so weeds didn’t compete. They showed that a mulch of straw protects the ground from damage by rain and reduces water flow massively protecting the soil. The worms will also love to work under a mulch which means they will constantly be improving the soil.

Creating a fine filth can be done by using tillers or hoes to break down the lumps of soil. If it’s got clay in it then it might all just mush back together when it rains again. Much better to get organic matter on the soil to cover it. You can see how good worms are at creating a fine tilth by applying a cardboard mulch to a patch of soil. After a few weeks they will have been all under the cardboard trying to nibble it and take it down into their burrows. Their effect is to turn the soil into fine grains of much more nutritious material.

Mulching can help improve lumpy soil. Mulch around establish plants in all beds. In beds where you are planting seeds or putting seedlings out you need to be a bit more careful. Don’t mulch heavuily around young plants. Scrape mulch away from the area you are sowing seeds. You can reapply once they’ve got going, or use a fine layer of grass clippings.